Thursday, 19 August 2010

Pakistan needs our help

I feel a bit uneasy when I hear reports of the recent Pakistan floods. Something is missing. At first I couldn’t pinpoint what it was then, as I heard the CNN reporter for the third time mention that Ban Ki-moon calls this the worst disaster he has seen, it hit me: there is no sympathy. It is being reported in the same sensationalist way you’d report a concert with a record number of viewers.

Whilst the reporter sent to China is crying (which cold-hearted Virgo and I both found very unprofessional), the reporter in Pakistan is speaking with an excitement that makes me uncomfortable. It seems I am not the only one who has noticed the unsympathetic reactions to this massive disaster, last night I briefly heard another report that was trying to investigate why we global citizens are not really reacting to these floods. One of the reasons mentioned was that the death toll is reasonably low (if I had stayed, it seemed they were to tell us this isn’t even true). Meanwhile in an article urging us to make donations to Pakistan’s flood victims, the following is stated:

"The U.N. wants to spotlight the enormity of the disaster, which is bigger than the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and this year's Haiti earthquake, yet has attracted far less in donations."

I think you, like me, might be surprised by this statement, especially considering the amount of support, attention, physical and financial donations and empathy that was given during the tsunami and the Haiti earthquake. It is shocking how little is being done to help this time around. From what I hear, 20% of Pakistan is under water. In a cruel twist of fate, the country being flooded has left many in desperate need of clean drinking water (don’t the powers that be have a twisted sense of humour?).

It’s time to push aside all prejudice about Pakistan as a country of terrorists, suicide bombers, or thoughts like ’they’re so used to suffering anyway’, ‘no whites/blacks/Christians are injured’, whatever it is that is blocking the outpouring of sympathy that would usually flow after a natural disaster. If you can, give, possibly to Save the Children here, or if in Sweden, follow these instructions:
"Barn i Pakistan behöver vatten, medicin och skydd nu! Många dör varje dag. Du kan vara med och rädda liv för en liten slant. Smsa BARN till 72950 och ge 200 kr. Sänd gärna vidare! Mvh Rädda Barnen"

And of course, if cash no dey, a little prayer doesn't cost a thing!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Under lock & key

I've been feeling a bit down for the past few days, so down I haven't been able to write. Why? Since Sunday I've been under house arrest. No, this has nothing to do with my political convictions or profession, but rather I made the mistake of leaving my car key on the sofa. Saturday morning, in the corner of my eye, I caught Em playing with it and when I went to take it from her a few minutes later, it was nowhere to be found. We searched as much as we could that morning, but in order to make it to the Homowo celebrations (more on that later), we gave up. Em's car seat was in my car, but luckily, since one of the doors is a bit shifty, I was able to break my way in, unlock the car doors and get her seat out.

After a lovely Saturday that ended too late for key searching, I went to bed and woke up Sunday morning with new energy to look for the key. Every sofa cushion was turned over, I crawled around the floor looking underneath all the furniture, checked any boxes, bags, pots, ANYTHING, that this 17-month old is tall enough to reach into, including her new favourite toy: the toilet brush (nice). Removed all the shoes from the shoe rack and searched through each shoe, thoroughly. Anywhere I'd pass, I'd think 'could the key be here?'.

This routine (i.e. search the sofa, floor, shoes, boxes, etc.) continued on Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon I had opened up and refolded all the laundry, checked unused cassette and VHS compartments, emptied all handbags and changing bag, before I finally gave up.

Then I thought, let me check the night stand one last time. On my way there i glanced at the bed and realised there was a tiny gap between the mattress and the bedframe. Need I say more? Of course, that is where I found the key to my teeny, tiny Tata! I swear, I can't remember the last time I felt so jump-up-and-down, screaming-at-the-top-of-my-voice happy!

Suddenly I could feel the joy I should have felt at noon after completing three agreements long before my deadlines. The key-finding energy lasted all the way til that evening, where I pushed away all tired feelings and headed onto the Tema Motorway for la Baselette's cosy birthday celebrations in Accra.

Although this morning I am still on a slight high, somehow I can't stop myself from looking around, for a key I have already found!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Smollenskys Accra

Yesterday I had lunch at Smollenskys. I hadn't heard of the name until Afua started going on about it a few months ago, but apparently it's a known chain of bar/restaurants in London which has now arrived in our very own Accra. In Accra, you'll find it at the top of the Kosmos/ProCredit building, opposite Silver Star tower.

I went there with the Poetress and had already been told that there was no set menu, you basically request and see whether the kitchen can offer what you want. I had the seafood plate with veg (yes, I have finally banished most carbs so I rejected the potatoes, yam chips and rice that was offered). I got a mix of fish, squid and prawns, unfortunately served in a creamy sauce. Unfortunately, because I think the seafood flavours would have been better presented in a crisp stir fry or grill, but fortunately the creamy sauce was delicious! The Poetress also seemed to enjoy her tuna with half a portion of jollof and half yam chips.

It was refreshing to sit in a quiet, breezy rooftop joint, but of course, as soon as I uttered the words "what do they do when it rains?", it started drizzling!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The train has come to town!

The other day I had some errands on the Spintex road. Seeing the traffic heading towards Tetteh Quarshie, I decided to drive all the way down the Spintex home to Tema. I'm glad I did. Not only did I catch that breathtaking view, as you turn the corner at the top of a little hill in Sakumono town, only to see the sea open up in front of you, with sand, palm trees and a bit of Tema harbour featuring on the left side.

I, of course opened my window to catch a few gasps of fresh sea air; all salt, freshness and fish fused into a perfect blend. The biggest surprise was at the end of the beach stretch. Suddenly the few cars in front of me ground to a halt. Just as I was about to get impatient, it came: out of a tiny tunnel ahead of us was a train!

I could have pinched myself for not having a camera (I left it at home, but since it's gone dead it wouldn't have helped me anyway). I tried taking a mental photo, and if I had had pen and paper I could easily have drawn a picture of it for you, at the 'speed' it choo-chooed past us. Luckily I found one online instead (thank you Ghana Business News!). Isn't it a beaut in its red, gold and green? And of course, there's a black star between every window!

Now, where does one go for a testride and how on earth do I stop singing this song every time I think of it?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A new local delicacy?

In the past few days two things have had me in disgusted shock. First, a blog post written by the Poet. That is, before the shock released and I laughed til I cried (poor Em was consoling her mummy, not realising I wasn't actually sad).

Yesterday, however, I heard something even more shocking. As I was driving in Ringway Estates with Joy playing in the background, the news reader suddenly mentioned that a man had recently found a g-string in his kenkey!

I don't know, my mind is filled with so many questions, how, why, whaaaaat?! But really and truly, I don't think I want an answer to any of my many queries (was the g-string new or old, clean or...worn, why and how were underwear and food so close to each other that they'd get mixed up, etc, etc), because each question just leads me to shudder more than the last.

I just thank my lucky stars most of my food is prepared at home and kenkey happens to be one of the few Ghanaian dishes I don't eat.


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